Scott Stricklin, the athletic director, announced the decision before the team. It was met with cheers and hugs from the group.
After Cam Newbauer quit, Finley, 36, took over as the new coach. There were allegations that Finley verbally and physically abused players.
Under Finley’s leadership, the Gators (20-9, 10-6, Southeastern Conference) regrouped and found their feet in January. They moved into the AP Top 25 in January for the first time since 2005, winning 10 out of 11 games. This hot streak saw wins against five ranked opponents: Texas A&M, Kentucky, LSU against LSU and Georgia.
Florida has lost three consecutive games since then, after it reached No. 15 in the poll. The Gators once seemed like they might win the No. The Gators, who once looked like they might win the No. 2 seed in this week’s SEC Tournament Nashville, dropped to the 5th seed. They will play Vanderbilt and the Aggies on Thursday.
Finley declared Monday that it was a “cool year”, shortly before her promotion at the school. We’ve had our ups and downs, just like any team. But I’m so proud of where we are now.
It was a difficult week. Although we didn’t achieve the results we desired, I feel that we have grown. It’s better to play those games before the tournament. There’s a lot to be learned from the whole season. Our team is a testament to their dedication to one another and their desire to improve.
Finley is a Minneapolis native who spent the four previous seasons working as an assistant for Newbauer in Gainesville. She has also been a student at Harvard, Colorado (2012-16), and Arizona (2016-17).
Finley’s approach to coaching has been embraced by players. It is centered on the phrase “you’re enough”. They don’t need validation and play with the greatest confidence. Finley witnessed her team play tight last week, which has tested their resilience. Finley urged them all to confront it and move forward with more confidence.
She said, “We don’t make excuses.” “When we discuss, acknowledge it, and move forward, one of the things we do a lot with is: ‘What was your thought? What were your thoughts at this time? And, then, what would you like them to be if it happened again?
“So now, we’re in tournament. You lose, you’re done. Let’s discuss it. What does this create? Is that creating pressure? Yes. Each team is in the exact same situation. You have to discuss these things in order to learn how to get through them.
Newbauer was expelled last summer by the Gators after another incident which showed that he was still unhappy with people’s treatment, Stricklin stated.
The Independent Florida Alligator is a student-run newspaper that is not affiliated with the university. It spoke to former players and their parents before detailing Newbauer’s alleged abuse. These players claimed that Newbauer made racist comments, threw basketballs at them, and was a mocker of everyone around him.
Stricklin admitted that he received reports regarding “some behavior that was somewhat concerning from a cultural perspective” during Newbauer’s 2017 season. Stricklin appointed Jay Jacobs, an associate AD to oversee the program.
Stricklin stated that the complaints slowed down and finally stopped. He gave Newbauer one last chance to improve on-court after he was 46-71 in four seasons. Newbauer signed a 3-year contract extension in March.
Newbauer was then involved in another circumstance that resulted in his resignation four months later. Newbauer was awarded a $283 250 buyout, which is being divided into installments.